All I could do was stand there. I tried to keep my eyes closed, but it was as though they were forced open.
The gates were a distance off, but they looked larger than anything I had ever seen. The bridge just before them was falling apart and went on for miles. Jagged rocks lined the edges. They fell off as needed and changed the path continually. The bars were long and thick; all black. Not the shiny black that you’re used to on a gate, but flat and dull.
Something made me look behind me and all I could see was other people standing and staring at the same thing. Our clothes torn and ragged, we were here. Hell.
Without blinking I considered how I got here. The past world was a faint memory, but I could still feel some of the emotion, the hatred, the fear, the failure and everything else that went with that place. How stubborn and stupid could I have been? How oblivious was I that I ended up … here.
I suddenly get a distant memory of my wife and my children. I slowly turn my head, as I can’t move my chained up feet. They’re nowhere. I attempt to open my eyes, but things only get fuzzier. I attempt to speak, but my voice is not there.
My worry increases. Where are they? Are they safe? There was nothing I could do but look back towards the gates. Somehow I had moved closer to them, the entrance …
It wasn’t but a moment later that I realized my wife, my kid’s, my once important things were all gone. It was hard to imagine a place like Heaven after what my eyes were seeing at the present moment, but if I could I’d cry.
This was it. This was what I lived for. All the times I denied, Chr, Chri, Christ. All the times I trusted in things rather than Him; all those times I worshiped my work, my computer, my hobbies and my whatever; all the blank moments at church; the fake handshakes; the fake smiles; the lies to my wife. The lie I was to my children … They’ll never know me now. Their memories will fade and so will I.
The wind begins to pick up the pace, enough so that I have to move forward for the first time. It’s strong. A force that gave me chills and made me move. My steps were small. They only had one direction to go toward and it lead straight to the bridge, straight to the gate. As the wind picked up, my vision grew worse. My skin started to peel. My mouth and eyes cringed. Others started to pass me and I could see them on the bridge.
Between the chains and the jagged rocks, only half the people made it across. I could see them being pulled down; the cries; the fear. The people who went through life thinking they never needed anyone but themselves, suddenly yearning for help, even begging for it. But no one was there to help. The role had been reversed on us. A selfish life yields no help, no results. Empty.
I came up to the bridge and looked down. The wind was still much too strong to attempt a return back. It had looked like 100 feet wide from a distance but turned out to be about 10 feet. And with the amount of people, it was heel to heel; shoulder to shoulder. I did whatever I could to stay standing. Pushing, shoving, and yelling. This is what we did in life to get where we wanted and we’re doing it here.
The worst part was, we had no idea why we trying to get across safely. We had no idea what lie ahead, but it didn’t matter. We, I, was the only thing that mattered. I managed to get across and get to the gate. The bridge ended and the path widened. It had to, the gate was enormous.
Once there, I looked up only to close my eyes as quick as possible. They were reopened. There was nowhere to hide here, no secret of what lie ahead, your fate was decided. Truth told, we decided our fate before we ever even got to this place. We were told to get in a line and wait. Those who fought were sent back to the jagged rocks. We entered inside the gate one by one. This was it. This was the end. I asked myself one more time if it was worth it.
I got to the entrance and was forced in. No words. No warning of what was to come. I wanted to do things on my own in life, I chose this path, I chose not to follow Christ, I chose to leave my family behind. The gates were now behind me and all that I faced was eternity.
It’s all about our choices …